The best season has just begun. The blazing sun, the clear sky, and the hot temperatures ignite the desire to get fit and be ready for the beach.
Leaning to the point of having sculpted abs can be a very difficult task, however, especially when time is tight, and you don't have the basics about training and nutrition during weight loss. Here then is a list of important tips on nutrition and training, useful precisely to achieve this goal.
Nutrition tips for a beach physique
In truth, achieving a good level of muscle definition is more a matter of diet than training. Muscles become visible and well defined only when the subcutaneous fat that covers and hides them is eliminated. This is mainly possible by sticking to a well-constructed dietary regimen, rather than spending hours and hours scrambling in the gym.
Methods and timing of carbohydrate intake
First of all, let's say goodbye to all kinds of snacks and snacks (which usually contain mainly processed and refined carbohydrates), carbonated drinks and spirits, especially beer and spirits. Instead, it is advisable to commit to consuming vegetables and legumes every day. The intake of fructose should be limited so that two or three portions of fruit per day should not be exceeded.
The goal is to minimize the intake of simple sugars, and instead increase that of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are usually classified as having a low glycemic index, and as such they help regulate blood sugar levels, thus helping to reduce appetite and provide a constant energy supply throughout the day.
However, there is a specific occasion when we can afford high glycemic index carbohydrates: immediately after training. Taking carbohydrates with a high glycemic index - that is, fast assimilation - immediately after training is actually advisable, since these will restore the sugar reserves in the muscles, and will help reduce their catabolism. Sources of simple carbohydrates suitable for this purpose are Dextrose, Maltodextrin, or Waxy Corn Starch.
Amount and timing of protein intake
Intake of the right amount of protein is an essential factor in maintaining muscle mass. A daily intake of between 1,5 and 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight is ideal for promoting muscle growth, and during dieting periods to prevent the body from burning lean mass for energy purposes.
As regards the choice of protein sources, proteins of animal origin should be preferred. Some classic examples of healthy, high-protein foods are chicken, tuna, and salmon. A classic approach to the daily diet suggests consuming a meal every 3 hours that provides a correct dose of protein. Protein shakes can help you reach your target daily protein dose.
And of course we must not forget to hydrate properly, drinking water throughout the day, so as to remove toxins and counteract water retention.
Best sources of fat
Extensive research has shown that low-carb diets are more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets. Under a calorie restriction regime, daily fat consumption should be between 1 and 1,5 grams per kg of body weight.
Not all types of fats are allowed when on a diet. Our fat sources should consist mainly of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Some classic examples of foods that provide this type of fat are eggs, olive oil, flax seeds, fatty fish such as salmon, avocados, and nuts. Among the sources of saturated fat, organic coconut oil is a positive exception, as it is mainly composed of medium-chain triglycerides, which
are known for their contribution to weight loss.
Supplements that promote the weight loss process
While not necessary for weight loss, there are supplements that can help us achieve the results we want faster, which is particularly welcome if our time is tight. Some of the best natural fat burners are CLA, L-Carnitine, Green Tea Extract, and Caffeine.
When combined with a proper weight loss diet and constant exercise, these supplements help to increase our metabolism, which in turn will force the body to consume more calories and therefore burn more fat.
Training tips for a beach physique
Once a precise and reasoned diet plan has been developed, we can focus on a training routine that will lead us to the desired level of muscle definition. The best results are obtained by combining weight training with targeted High Intensity Interval Training sessions.
Entering circuit workouts
Spending hours running on the treadmill is definitely not the most efficient way to burn fat. To burn fat in greater quantities, the body's metabolism must be raised. The best way to boost metabolism through exercise is to incorporate circuit training sessions into our routine.
Circuit training is a particular type of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and consists of performing a different number of exercises with different movements in the shortest possible time. Instead of running at a constant pace for 20 minutes, we will choose different exercises to be performed in series, and to be completed in the shortest possible time, then rest for 1-2 minutes and start the circuit again.
By incorporating these HIIT circuits into our workout routine, our metabolism will be boosted enough to stay high for hours even after we leave the gym. This will cause us to burn body fat at a higher rate even when we are resting or performing sedentary activities.
Having sculpted abs is one of the main objectives of those who aspire to the classic beach physique. As previously said, a correct diet is the fundamental element to reach the coveted "turtle"; nevertheless, it is important to dedicate ourselves to training the abdominals themselves, to develop and strengthen them.
The number of repetitions - for example during a series of "crunches" - is not the only aspect we need to focus on. A very important aspect to consider in abdominal training is the time to maintain muscle tension during exercise, called Time Under Tension (TUT). The "time under tension" is the time that elapses between the beginning and the end of a single repetition of an exercise, considering both the concentric part and the eccentric part of the same.
Scientific research shows that time under tension plays an important role in muscle development: the longer this time, the greater the amount of muscle fibers recruited during an exercise. Recruiting more fibers means to stimulate the muscle itself more: the greater the stimulus of the muscle during training, the greater its development.
The "plank" and all its variants act precisely on the time factor under tension, and are therefore excellent exercises for developing the abdominal muscles, both internal and external. Adding exercises of this type to our routine is certainly a great idea.
Early morning aerobic exercise on an empty stomach
Performing aerobic activity on an empty stomach in the early morning is a very popular practice with athletes and fitness models during the definition phases. The reasoning behind this approach is that by not having breakfast, the body has not replenished the sugar stores that were consumed during the night, and will therefore be forced to use the fat stores for energy to perform the exercise.
According to recent research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the body can burn up to 20% more fat during a morning aerobic workout on an empty stomach.
While it is a valid shortcut to burn more fat, this technique can however become counterproductive because in the absence of sugars to be used as fuel, to obtain energy the body could also start burning lean muscle together with fat. To prevent this from happening, before the training session on an empty stomach, it is advisable to take proteins or amino acids, which have proven anti-catabolic effects. In these cases, a protein shake or a BCAA-based supplement can be for us.
The road to achieving a perfect beach physique may seem tiring, but reaching the goal will give you great satisfaction. Of course, you have to stay focused on the goal and follow the action plan carefully. It is a good practice to keep a record of our progress, which will help us understand if we need to change our diet or our training routine.
And now that we have the basics of getting that much-desired beach physique, it's just a matter of stopping dreaming about it, and starting to work towards getting it for real!